NASA leader Raila Odinga on Thursday sent mourners at a requiem mass for Yvonne Wamalwa, the widow of the late Vice President Michael Kijana Wamalwa, into rapture when he demanded that Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa addresses him as “His Excellency.”
Mr Odinga said he had turned up to mourn Yvone as a friend but created light moments for hundreds of mourners present at Consolata Shrine in Westlands, Nairobi, as he critiqued the younger Wamalwa’s manner of addressing him by referring him just as Raila Odinga and not ‘His Excellency’ as other dignitaries had been addressed.
While welcoming Mr Odinga to give his tribute, the CS remembered remarks his late brother had made while describing his larger-than-life presence in Kenyan politics.
“The problem with Raila is that you cannot love or hate him fully. Mike once ssaid there is something called Raila phobia and Raila mania. The day we saw on 30ththere was Raila mania and people came out with passion to be with him and there was Raila phobia as those who feared stayed away,” said the CS as the mourners cheered.
When he took his turn, Mr Odinga said he could not understand why the CS had failed to address him as ‘His excellency’ despite being the ‘People’s President” yet he had used official titles in reference to others.
“I am here to mourn my great friend Yvonne, whose husband was also my great friend. But Eugene forgot to say something. He forgot to address me as ‘His Excellency.’ I do not know whether it was deliberate or by omission but I do not understand why he called other people ‘His Excellency’ and doesn’t think the ‘people’s president’ should be referred to in the same way,” said Raila.
Outgoing Foreign Affairs CS Amina Mohamed, Senate Speaker Kenneth Lusaka , ex-ministers Musikari Kombo, Chris Okemo, Mutahi Kagwe and Noah Wekesa and former Othaya MP Mary Wambui were among dignitaries who at the service.
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Busia Senators Amos Wako, Senator Michael Mbito (Trans Nzoia), and MPs Caleb Amisi (Saboti), Ferdinand Wanyonyi (Kwanza) and Mwambu Mabonga (Bumula) were also present.
Raila swore himself as the “People’s President” on Tuesday before hundreds of thousands of his supporters, an act the government says amounts to treason. It has started a crackdown on the media and Opposition elements.
However, the international community has reacted by stating they only recognise President Uhuru as Kenya’s elected President.
Those who have failed to recognise Raila include the United States, the European Union, the African Union and Britain.